"Leash Law" enforced to keep pets and owners safe

By Sara Story - bio | email

HENDERSON, TX (KLTV) - It's a law that's been around for more than a decade, but one East Texas city is reminding dog owners to pay attention to the rules. The City of Henderson is cracking down on it's leash law. It's a city ordinance that requires dogs to be behind a fence or in a kennel when unattended. Animal control officers are pleading for pet owners to take more responsibility for their animals.

"I've been on the streets for two years. I was really shocked by the amount of people who were born and raised here who didn't know it was a law," City of Henderson Animal Control Officer Veronica Whittington said.

Section 2 of the Henderson city ordinance states an unattended dog that is fastened to a leash, trolley, or chain is considered an animal "at large", and city officials are allowed to impound it.

"The first year or so, I've been lenient," Whittington said.

Whittington wants to educate dog owners and warn them this law will be enforced. In the wake of several tragic dog attacks in East Texas, she wants dog owners to take responsibility.

"I'm not out to take everyone's dogs. I'm not out to ban certain dogs. I think we need to be more aggressive in making people more responsible pet owners," Whittington said.

She said the leash law is in place not only for human safety, but pet safety too.

"Since I've been here, I've dealt with a lot of embedded collars for a town that has a leash law," Whittington said.

If you want to leave your pet unattended, Whittington said a kennel or fence is required. The City of Henderson said you can face up to a $200 fine if your dog is chained up, and your dog may be impounded.

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